Enlightening

Ultra-violet rays have been used by restoration experts in Florence, Italy to shine new light on the work of Giotto di Bondone, one of the West’s most important painters.

Ultra-violet rays have been used by restoration experts in Florence, Italy to shine new light on the work of Giotto di Bondone, one of the West’s most important painters. The Independent reports that murals by Giotto at the Peruzzi Chapel in Florence’s Santa Croce, depicting John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, neglected for hundreds of years and encrusted with dirt, have now had their intricacies exposed through the use of ultra-violet light. "The ambitious ‘non-invasive diagnostics’ project designed to assess the condition of the 12-metre-high chapel, which Giotto painted in about 1320, began last year. By chance restorers working on the three-storey steel scaffolding noted that when ultra-violet light was directed on the frescoes a remarkable degree of extra detail became visible. Cecilia Frosinini, who co-ordinated project, told Corriere della Sera that when the UV light went on, ‘all that was opaque, uncertain and illegible became clear, dense and full of contrast’. ‘We have uncovered a secret Giotto,’ said another of the team, Isabella Lapi Ballerini, head of Florence's Opificio delle Pietre Dure art restoration laboratory."

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